Operation Waves Breaker continues in full force, as part of which dozens of suspected terror operatives were apprehended over the past weekend alone.
By Jonathan Hessen and Erin Viner
Security forces have intensified arrest raids for wanted Palestinians in the West Bank since the outbreak of of Arab terror attacks that have claimed the lives of 19 people in the Jewish State since March.
The military incursions have often been met with Palestinian gunfire, particularly at the terrorist hotbed city of Jenin.
“The security forces are standing against terrorism and risking themselves in the field, every day, all day. I am proud of them and back them,” stated Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
The nation suffered its first casualty of operations on Friday, when Israel National Counter-Terrorism Unit (INCT, Yamam) Sergeant Major Noam Raz was killed. IDF Menashe Sector Division Commander Colonel Arik Moyal said that the fallen officer, a married father of six, was part of a joint operation by the Police, Border Guard and the Golani Reconnaissance Unit to capture senior terror suspects in Jenin when the Israeli forces came under fire from multiple directions
“We lost a hero today, a brave fighter who gave his life for the security of Israel during a complex and delicate initiated counter-terrorist operation,” mourned Prime Minister Bennet, adding that, “During his 23 years in the unit, Noam had participated in countless counter-terrorist operations, risked his own life and saved lives – as his commanders attest – with courage and modesty.”
The Israeli leader revealed that just weeks ago, Sgt. Maj. Raz “saved the life of Chief Superintendent S’ who had been severely wounded in a clash with terrorists in the Tulkarem area.”
The “legacy Noam leaves behind,” shared by the nation, said the Premier, is “to fight terrorism with determination and an iron fist until we defeat it and restore security to the citizens of Israel.”
In related developments, a gag order has been lifted on publication of the death of IDF Lt. Col. Mahmoud Kheir el-Din, who fell in battle during special operations in the West Bank city of Khan Yunis three-and-a-half years ago.
Prime Minister Bennett described el Din as a “hero” during an address at the weekly cabinet meeting, whom he had personally eulogized at his funeral. He said the resident of the Druze village of Hurfeish had served in the Paratrooper Brigade Reconnaissance Unit prior to rising through the ranks to the IDF Special Operations Division.
“Mahmoud was posthumously awarded the Chief-of-Staff’s commendation,” said the Israeli Premier, sharing that he had met with el-Din’s widow, “the wonderful Nahed and his two beautiful boys” two weeks ago.
Bennett said he was pleased that people of Israel at long last “received the privilege of openly knowing the name and heroism” of the late Lt. Col.
“The covenant of blood, and mainly the covenant of life, with our Druze brothers is stronger than ever,” stressed the Israeli leader, adding the Jewish mourner’s tribute, “May his memory forever be a blessing.”
Premier Bennett continued by stressing that in contrast to the malicious slander against Israeli troops, those responsible for the escalation of violence are the abhorrent terrorists who brutally murdered nineteen people in cold blood.
“Both Mahmoud and Noam dedicated their lives to defending the citizens of Israel. This is the place to recall that they fell in initiated operations designed to counter murderous and bloodthirsty Palestinian terrorism. Therefore, the world cannot become confused or – Heaven forbid – that one of us should err. There is good and bad in this story: It is Palestinian terrorists who have murdered 19 of our sons and daughters with inconceivable brutality – with axes, knives and live fire,” he said, pointing out that, “20 years ago as well, our soldiers fought heroically against terrorists in Jenin during Operation Defensive Shield. Then, as now, we dealt with libel against our soldiers.”
The Israeli Prime Minister continued by stressing that the Security Establishment will persist with all of the operations that are necessary to provide security for the citizens of Israel.
“Our forces will continue to take determined action against terrorism. Here I say this clearly: The Government of Israel is placing no restrictions on the fight against terrorism, and we will not slacken, even in the face of the mendacious propaganda that is being leveled at Israel,” he said.
Bennett was subsequently joined by members of his Security Cabinet, who received a comprehensive briefing on the developments and assessment of the multi-sector, month-long IDF “Chariots of Fire” exercise upon conclusion of its first week. The ministers participated in an in-depth discussion on the wide-scale war maneuver, with chief focus on the role of the respective government bodies and the civilian sector in the case of the potential outbreak of an all-out conflagration.